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Upstate Class VIII, Fall 2009

Upstate Class VIII, Greenville, SC

View the participants from this class.

Team Nia

Team Nia (pronounced Knee-ah; means “purpose” in Swahili) launched an initiative to help local parks and institutions facilitate access to recreation opportunities and services for individuals and families with limited English proficiency.

Background
The size of the international community is one of Greenville’s prized assets; however, the growth of this population has also challenged the Greenville community to provide services to non-English speakers and immigrants. Greenville currently lacks the infrastructure to adequately serve and/or communicate with the non-English-speaking community.

Sojourners

From the outset, Sojourners sought to develop a Capstone Project that would broaden the discussion of diversity among upstate youth. Our team believes that achieving trusting interpersonal relations, which bridge racial, economic, gender, religious, ethnic, and other cultural and social boundaries is critical to building peace. Providing a forum where young people may discover, understand, welcome and celebrate the similarities and differences among people will serve to provide new pathways and real opportunities for sustainable inclusive communities.

Catalytics

Ca•ta•lyst \ˈka-tə-ləst\ : an agent that provokes or speeds significant change or action.

Recently for Project Upstate Together, a project of the Greenville Chamber of Commerce, 133 upstate leaders were asked, “What explains the relative weakness of the Upstate economy?” Eighty-five percent said, “Low levels of aspiration among Upstate young people for post-secondary education.”

4Wrd Thinking

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “I think it is one of the tragedies of our nation, one of the shameful tragedies that 11:00 on Sunday morning is one of the most segregated hours, if not the most segregated in Christian America.” Our capstone group, 4wrd Thinking, examined Dr. King’s observation by hosting a conversation among religious leaders in the Upstate about this challenging issue. We posed a series of questions to the attendees: Is Dr. King’s observation still valid today? Should something be done to address this phenomenon?

Hear Me, See Me

Hear Me, See Me engaged with the South Carolina School for the Deaf and Blind to explore opportunities to increase diversity within its residential Spartanburg campus.

We considered many projects proposed by administration that included racial composition of students, programs for students with cochlear implants, early childhood programs, and admissions policy of visually impaired children. Hear Me, See Me started down the path of revising the admission policy for visually impaired students with the intent of widening admission criteria to bring in low vision students that were otherwise ineligible for admission. During our due diligence we uncovered the School’s blind spot – the current educational model was antiquated and not optimal for the mission of the School and its desire to use its resources to help each child be as successful as she or he can be.